AVONDALE — There’s a new spot to grab a decadent sandwich — and freshly baked doughnuts — in Avondale.
TriBecca’s Sandwich Shop, from former Honey Butter Fried Chicken cook Becca Grothe, opened over the weekend at 2949 W. Belmont Ave. after three years of planning. Eater was first to report on the opening.
The menu is a reflection of Grothe’s upbringing in Galesburg, Illinois. Among the offerings are takes on the maid-rite, Iowa’s famed loose meat sandwich, and the horseshoe, an open-faced cheeseburger topped with fries and drenched in melted cheese. Both the maid-rite and the horseshoe, the latter of which originated in central Illinois, were sandwiches Grothe ate growing up and had trouble finding in Chicago.
“I think when people think about sandwich shops in Chicago, they immediately go to the Italian beef and Chicago-style hot dogs, and I think we’re bringing more options. … We’re bringing things to Chicago that people up here may have never heard of, like the [maid-rite] and the horseshoe,” Grothe said.
TriBecca’s also serves sandwiches and sides Grothe has perfected over her career. One is Grothe’s non-traditional Cubano made with Twin Oaks ham, Slagel Farm mojo park, Swiss cheese, pickled prince pickles, chipotle aioli and mustard butter, served on a pHlour Bakery ciabatta bun.
Grothe served the Cubano several years ago at Sunday Dinner Club, an underground restaurant launched by the Honey Butter Fried Chicken crew, and even launched a pop-up around the sandwich at Revival Food Hall. That was the first iteration of TriBecca’s.
Sandwiches — especially those with Midwestern flair — have always been Grothe’s focus.
“Quite honestly, I love eating sandwiches. It’s my favorite meal,” she said. “I think they’re really versatile, and you can fit a lot of cool flavors in a sandwich.”
Grothe’s husband, Cam Waron, Honey Butter Fried Chicken’s culinary director, is behind the doughnut program at TriBecca’s.
Waron makes doughnuts under the moniker Tubers Donuts. His doughnuts are made with potato flour and fried in clarified butter. Each doughnut is topped with a sweet — and sometimes savory — glaze, like lemony black pepper and poppy seed and chocolate ganache with crunchy potato flakes. The latter doughnut is designed to taste like Wendy’s fries dipped in a Frosty, Grothe said.
TriBecca’s is three years in the making. Grothe set out to open her own sandwich shop after she left Sunday Dinner Club and had a baby, but her plans kept getting pushed back, in large part due to the pandemic.
Waron found the Belmont Avenue storefront through a chef friend in September, and the restaurant project took off from there.
Grothe said she owes a debt of gratitude to The Abundance Setting, a local organization dedicated to supporting women chefs. The nonprofit provides working mothers in the culinary industry with meals and mentorship.
“That was extremely helpful in that time, for me to not have to worry about making dinner, while also taking care of my son and trying to open this business, and working full-time,” Grothe said.
To start, TriBecca’s is only open for carryout and delivery during dinner hours, but Grothe plans to roll out dine-in service soon. The restaurant will eventually also be open for brunch, she said.
Grothe said she’s thrilled to finally have a place of her own to showcase her culinary skills — and the special food she ate growing up.
Grothe’s mom used to always make “frosted” cauliflower as a side dish: a whole head of cauliflower slathered with mayonnaise and mustard, microwaved and sprinkled with cheddar cheese. Now, Grothe is serving her own version at TriBecca’s: panko-crusted cauliflower with aioli and cheese on a buttery bun.
“I’m just excited that we’ve gotten to the point where we’re open and we can just start putting out sandwiches. That’s really what we’ve been trying to do for three years. We’ve made it,” Grothe said.
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